Wolves only just call the ShotsBy: DJ | August 11th, 2012
A new stand, new manager, new players, new style of play, new division, new season, but some things don’t change and these early season League Cup games have a habit of being far from thrillers at Molineux. It wasn’t until the 14th penalty of a shoot out that a win was secured and that can’t really count as Wolves first success on their own ground in 2012.
After announcing on Friday that Matt Jarvis would be in the starting line up, he was ruled out evidently with a bug, but the fact that he had gone public with his desire to leave the club before the game was surely a factor in his omission. So the line up became;
Zubar, Johnson, Stearman, Ward
Davis, Doumbia, Henry, Forde
Ebanks Blake, Doyle
Wolves were the better team for long periods of the first half but were not creating scoring opportunities and the visting keeper did not have a busy half. The style of play under new manager Solbakken is going to take a while for Wolves fans to get used to and maybe a while to become effective. Plenty of possession and a solid looking centre, but it was a narrow midfield line up with Doumbia playing in a deep role ahead of the defence, Henry and Davis providing further solidity ahead of him and Forde playing on the left but in a narrow role and not as an orthodox winger. What width there was came from the overlapping Zubar and Ward.
The South Bank and the Upper Tier of the Steve Bull stand were closed with the lower tier of that stand about one third full of Aldershot fans. The Billy Wright Stand was less than half full with most of the 11,000+ crowd in the new North Bank. I was in the upper tier of the impressive structure which gave a great view and easy movement around the facilities a pretty stiff climb up the stairs, but are there enough turnstiles? Long queues outside resulted in a short kick off delay.
First real threat from Wolves came just after the half hour when good work from SEB on the left saw him pick out Doyle in the middle who headed just wide. Then 5 minutes before the break it was a great run down the left from Ward who picked out SEB who then played in Davis on the right who shot narrowly wide. But that was as close as it got in a fairly dull first half with one real highlight for the home fans in an impressive debut from Tongo Doumbia. Played in a deep role and built things up from the back with some good passing but then making good burst forward to support the attack. The Yaya Toure of the Championship?
Wolves went ahead 7 minutes into the half with a trademark finish from Ebanks Blake. Collecting a cross from the right he controlled the ball, turned, and hammered the ball into the far corner. Ten minutes later and Rankine almost equalises when he is narrowly wide after beating Stearman in the air. And when Aldershot win a corner its the same man again as Rankine beats Johnson on the far post and equalises. Wolves dominated the remainder of the game and at times the visitors were under a lot of pressure but no clear cut chances created.
No Wolves subs in the 90 minutes but Nouble replaced Doyle at the start of extra time, and then at the start of the 2nd period of added time Berra replaced Stearman and Hunt on for Davis. Wolves did come close to winning it in the 2nd period of extra time with a long range Forde effort tipped onto the post by the keeper and then SEB having two shots blocked from close range. But the game needed a penalty shoot out to decide the outcome.
It was a good enhibition of penalty taking from both sides with SEB, Hunt, Ward, Johnson, Henry, Nouble and Forde converting for Wolves before Ikeme saved the 7th Aldershot pen with a good save to his left in front of the new North Bank.
Ikeme – not a busy day but did what he did well including some good catches from crosses
Zubar – some good work going forward but caught out of position a couple of times defensively as a result of going forward
Johnson – had a generally good game but was beaten for the equaliser
Stearman – showed some good skill on the ball but was beaten a few times defensively
Ward – the best of the backline and good going forward
Davis – played mostly on the right of midfield and had a decent game
Doumbia – best player on the field and looks a very useful acquisition
Henry – solid as ever and because Doumbia was the deepest midfield player was used further forward to try to win the ball high up the field
Forde – probably his best game for the first team so far with some good work on the left and nearly found the winner late on
Doyle – more of a central role rather than running the channels and usual good control
SEB – took his goal well and went close on a couple of more occasions
Nouble – big presence but got no real supply to work off
Berra – booed by some because of his transfer request
Hunt – a lively cameo
So not a great start for Stale and still no win for Wolves at Molineux in 2012. This is going to be a different Wolves to the one we saw under McCarthy in this division when we saw flying wingers and plenty of goals. Under Stale its going to be a more solid team with less goals scored but probably less goals conceded. But its very early days and the league games that start next Saturday is when it gets a lot more important.